Navy's 'little ship that could' is sold

17 February 2010

The Royal New Zealand Navy’s last In Shore Patrol Craft, formerly HMNZS KAHU, will have a new owner and is destined to begin a new life as a pleasure craft.

In late 2009, the Navy engaged Auckland Shipbrokers Ltd to facilitate the tender and sale process for KAHU.

The sale went live on Auckland Shipbrokers website 29 October 2009 and tenders closed 22 January 2010.  

Mr Peter White Robinson, of Fitzroy Engineering LTD, won the tender and will be signing an acceptance agreement at 9 am on 18 February 2010 on the Devonport Naval Base along with the Commander of Fleet Support, Captain John Tucker. 

Background on HMNZS KAHU

HMNZS KAHU was built by Whangarei Engineering & Construction Ltd (WECO).  Her keel was laid 8 Dec 1978 and the build completed May 1979.  She began service as the HMNZS MANAWANUI (Pennant # A09) 28 May 1979 and operated as a support vessel for the RNZN’s diving teams in a variety of under water tasks.  Most took place in the Hauraki Gulf to Bay of Plenty region and had a clear naval aspect, but some civilian in nature, such as the exploration and salvage work on the sunken Soviet passenger liner Mikhail Lermontov in Port Gore, Marlborough Sounds, in March 1986.

In March 1988 the RNZN bought a larger ship to provide facilities for deeper diving and an increased range of dive activities which was commissioned as HMNZ Dive Tender MANAWANUI and the original MANAWANUI commissioned as HMNZS KAHU (pennant # A04) on 17 May 1988. 

From 1988 KAHU has operated as the navigation and seamanship training vessel, provided support the RNZN Dive School, and conducting operations with other Government Agencies such as Fisheries, Customs, Police and DOC and became the “little ship that could”.

KAHU was formally decommissioned on Friday 30 October 2009. 

Interesting Fact

By decommissioning date (Friday 30 October) HMNZS KAHU had steamed 191,332 Nautical Miles (around the world approx 71/2 times) and been underway for 22,411 hrs. 

The underway hours do not reflect the many additional hours KAHU has spent at anchor supporting dive training and multi-agency operations.

Particulars - HMNZS KAHU A04

Standard Displacement:   91 tonnes
Length Overall:              27 metres
Beam:                             6.1 metres
Draught:                         2.4 metres
Speed:                            12 knots
Range:                           1,000 nautical miles
Propulsion:                    Two Cummins diesels (710 hp)
                                          Twin shafts


The Navy works with communities and other government agencies to protect our borders and fisheries by undertaking border patrols and surveillance of the EEZ. 

For further information and registrations of interest - please contact Lieutenant Sarah Campbell, Senior Media Adviser Navy - 021 244 0638.

This page was last reviewed on 20 January 2011.